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Publication numberUS4606997 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 06/705,645
Publication dateAug 19, 1986
Filing dateFeb 26, 1985
Priority dateJul 7, 1984
Fee statusPaid
Also published asDE3510480A1, DE3510480C2
Publication number06705645, 705645, US 4606997 A, US 4606997A, US-A-4606997, US4606997 A, US4606997A
InventorsTakehiro Kira
Original AssigneeUshio Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Maintaining quality of light during high power level consumption
US 4606997 A
Abstract
Through a pattern mask, small sections of a semiconductor wafer are exposed successively to light radiated from a mercury-vapor lamp in high-level steps, during each of which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp is at a high level, by continuously lighting the mercury-vapor lamp and repeatedly alternating each of the high-level steps and a low-level step during which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp is at a low level. As the mercury-vapor lamp, there is used a mercury-vapor lamp in which mercury is filled in such a large amount that when lit in the low-level step, the mercury vapor pressure in its envelope is below 96% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure at that time. Use of such a mercury-vapor lamp is effective in avoiding the occurrence of incomplete lighting state when its power consumption is changed from the low-level step to the high-level step.
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Claims(3)
I claim:
1. In a method for exposing successively, through a pattern mask, small sections of a semiconductor wafer to light radiated from a mercury-vapor lamp by continuously lighting the mercury-vapor lamp and repeatedly alternating the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp between high power periods, during each of which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp is at a high level, and low power periods during which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp is at a low level, the improvement comprising using as the mercury-vapor lamp a mercury-vapor lamp in which mercury is filled in such a large amount that when the lamp is lit in the low power periods, the mercury vapor pressure in the envelope of the mercury-vapor lamp is no greater than 96% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure at that time.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein a shutter is opened and then closed only once during the period of each of the high-level steps so as to expose the corresponding one of the small sections of the semiconductor wafer at an exposure position, and while the shutter is closed, the semiconductor wafer is shifted stepwise to place the next small section at an exposure position.
3. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the level of the power consumption in the low-level step is substantially equal to the rated power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1 Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an exposure method of a semiconductor wafer by a mercury-vapor lamp.

2 Description of the Prior Art

Upon fabrication of a semiconductor device such as an integrated circuit, large-scale integrated circuit, super large-scale integrated circuit or the like, a photofabrication process is carried out. For example, in order to remove portions of a silicon oxide film formed on a surface of a substrate, which is for example a silicon wafer, a photofabrication process is carried out in accordance with an image pattern such as a circuit pattern. This photofabrication process includes such steps that a photoresist film is formed over the silicon oxide film on the silicon substrate and the photoresist film is then exposed to ultraviolet rays through a photomask having a pattern image. After exposure, the photoresist film is developed and the silicon oxide film is then subjected to an etching treatment. Thereafter, a circuit-forming treatment such as diffusion, ion implantation or the like is applied to the silicon substrate through the thusetched silicon oxide film.

A semiconductor wafer is generally circular with its surface area supposed to be divided into minute square sections arranged rows and columns. These minute sections will each be cut afterwards to form chips which will be semiconductor devices respectively. A sheet of semiconductor wafer is generally 3 inches, 5 inches or 6 inches across. The sizes of such semiconductor wafers tend to increase coupled with progresses in their fabrication technology.

A high-output mercury-vapor lamp is indispensable in order to expose the entire surface of a semiconductor wafer simultaneously so that all the minute sections, which will individually be formed into chips, are printed at once. Use of such a high-output mercury-vapor lamp is however accompanied by such problems that it renders an exposure system in which the lamp is assembled large and a considerably high degree of technique is required for the uniformity of illuminance on the surface of the semiconductor wafer. Consequently, it is very difficult to meet the tendency of enlargement of semiconductor wafers practically.

With the foregoing in view, it has recently been proposed to expose minute sections, which are arranged in rows and columns on a semiconductor wafer, one after another successively so that pattern images are printed successively and respectively on the minute sections. In such a stepwise exposure method, it is carried out to expose an area equivalent to only one of the minute sections in each exposure operation. Therefore, the stepwise exposure method permits the use of a low-output mercury-lamp, whereby bringing about such substantial advantages that an exposure system employed would have been reduced in size and the illuminance can be readily made uniform on the surface of each semiconductor wafer because the area of each exposure is small. As a result, a pattern image can be printed with a high degree of accuracy.

A mercury-vapor lamp cannot however be repeatedly turned on and off in a short cycle because the enclosed mercury vapor undergoes condensation while the lamp is turned off. It is therefore advantageous to cause a mercury-vapor lamp to light repeatedly and alternately at a low power consumption level and at a high power consumption level while maintaining the mercury-vapor lamp in a continuously-lit state, to expose a minute section of a semiconductor wafer, which minute section has assumed an exposure position, to the light from the mercury-vapor lamp when the mercury-vapor lamp is lit at the high power consumption level, and when the mercury-vapor lamp is lit at the low power consumption level, to shift the semiconductor wafer stepwise so that another minute section of the semiconductor wafer, which another minute section is to be subjected to next exposure, is allowed to assume the exposure position, while the light from the mercury-vapor lamp is cut off by means of a shutter. The above manner can provide a required level of light quantity at the high power consumption level and at the same time, keeps the mercury-vapor lamp in its lit state at the low power consumption level while avoiding wasting of electric power.

In such a stepwise exposure method, the light of the mercury-vapor lamp is not utilized while the shutter is closed, resulting in such drawbacks that lots of electricity are still wasted and the shutter is susceptible to considerable damages due to its exposure to the high-energy light. The shutter is required to operate quick, because if its opening or closing motion should be slow, non-uniform exposure of a semiconductor wafer due to such a slow opening or closing motion of the shutter becomes a problem. In order to meet this requirement, it is indispensable that the shutter has a light weight. However, a light-weight shutter will inevitably result in poor heat resistance. As a result, such a light-weight shutter tends to undergo deformation due to heat which is built up while shielding the light and hence to develop a malfunction which impairs its smooth opening and closing operation.

With the foregoing in view, it may be contemplated to light, during each closure period of the shutter, the mercury-vapor lamp with a power consumption smaller than its power consumption during the exposure time, i.e., while the shutter is kept open.

It has however been found that the above exposure method is accompanied by a new problem. Namely, it becomes increasingly preferable from the viewpoint of increasing the quantity of light to be radiated as the amount of filled mercury increases, because the quantity of light to be radiated from a mercury-vapor lamp increases corresponding to the amount of mercury to be filled in its envelope. On the other hand, it is necessary that mercury vapor does not condense even when the mercury-vapor lamp is lit with smaller power consumption in each non-exposure period in which the shutter is closed. If the amount of mercury to be filled is set in such a way that the vapor pressure of mercury in the envelope when the mercury-vapor lamp is lit at small power consumption will become close to the saturated vapor pressure of mercury at that time, the mercury-vapor lamp will be fallen into an incomplete lighting state in an instant when the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp is changed to a higher level. Thus, the quantity of the radiated light will not increase immediately and the degree of exposure will probably be insufficient.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

With the foregoing in view, the present invention has as its object the provision of an exposure method of a semiconductor wafer by a mercury-vapor lamp, in which the exposure which is repeated at a short interval can be stably performed over a long period of time, at a low cost without developing such problems as mentioned above.

In one aspect of this invention, there is accordingly provided a method for exposing, through a pattern mask, small sections of a semiconductor wafer successively to light radiated from a mercury-vapor lamp in high-level steps, during each of which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp is at a high level, by continuously lighting the mercury-vapor lamp and repeatedly alternating each of the high-level steps and a low-level step during which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp is at a low level, in which method there is used as the mercury-vapor lamp a mercury-vapor lamp in which mercury is filled in such a large amount that when lit in the low-level step, the mercury vapor pressure in the envelope of the mercury-vapor lamp is no greater than 96% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure at that time.

Owing to the filling of mercury in such a large amount as reaching as high as 96% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure when the mercury-vapor lamp is lit in the low-level steps, it is possible to avoid occurrence of incomplete lighting state of the mercury-vapor lamp when the power consumption is changed from the low-level step to the high-level step. It is hence possible to maintain the quantity of light radiated in the high-level steps at the same level as the light quantity at the beginning.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and the appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings

FIG. 1 is a simplified schematic illustration of one example of an exposure system;

FIG. 2 is a graphic representation showing one example of the waveform of power consumption of a mercury-vapor lamp, which waveform varies due to the repetition of a high-level step and a low-level step;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary plan view of a semiconductor wafer, illustrating some of sections to be exposed;

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of one example of mercury-vapor lamps; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary schematic illustration of the mercury-vapor lamp depicted in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The invention will hereinafter be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

For printing a pattern image by ultraviolet rays in such a manner as mentioned above, there is employed an exposure system having such an optical light-focusing and projection system as depicted for example in FIG. 1. In FIG. 1, numeral 1 indicates a short-arc mercury-vapor lamp which is an exposing light source. This short-arc mercury-vapor lamp 1 is installed at such a position that its arc is located on the focal point of a light-focusing mirror 5. Light L, which has been given off from the short-arc mercury-vapor lamp 1, is focused by the light-focusing mirror 5, and is then projected onto a photomask 11 bearing a circuit pattern image thereon by way of a first plane mirror 6, integrator 8, second plane mirror 7 and condenser lens 10. Light, which has transmitted through the photomask 11, is projected via a reducing lens 12 onto a semiconductor wafer 2 supported in place on a susceptor (not shown) and bearing a photoresist film made of an ultraviolet ray sensitive resin and formed on the upper surface of the semiconductor wafer 2, whereby to print on the semiconductor wafer 2 a circuit pattern image corresponding to the photomask 11 but reduced in size with a reduction ratio of 1/10-1/5. Designated at numeral 4 is a shutter, whereas numeral 9 indicates a filter.

In the present invention, a semiconductor wafer is exposed in the following manner. In the system shown in FIG. 1, electric power is continuously fed to a mercury-vapor lamp 1 built in a light-focusing mirror 5 so that the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is lit continuously. While maintaining the above lighting state, the electric power to be fed to the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is then controlled by an operation control circuit 3 so that the electric power takes the basic waveform illustrated by way of example in FIG. 2. Accordingly, the power consumption level of the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is alternated periodically and repeatedly between a high level, namely, Step A during which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is of such a level as about 1.3-2.5 times the rated power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp 1 and a low level, namely, Step B during which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is of a level equal or close to its rated power consumption. In Step A of the high power consumption level, a shutter 4 is opened and then closed so as to cause the light radiated from the mercury-vapor lamp 1 to expose a small section of a semiconductor wafer 2 through a photomask 11 for a constant time period, which small section is placed at an exposing position.

The extent of exposure may be controlled to a prescribed desired level on the exposed surface of the semiconductor wafer 2 by setting the opening time of the shutter 4 suitably. In other words, the extent of exposure may be controlled by holding the shutter 4 in its opened position while the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is lit in Step A in which the power consumption of the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is at the high level. Then, after closing the shutter 4, the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is lit in Step B in which its power consumption is at the low level. During Step B, the shutter is kept closed.

The repeated alternation of Step A of the high level and Step B of the low level is carried out in synchronization of the manner of the stepwise shifting of the semiconductor wafer 2. Namely, as shown in FIG. 3, the semiconductor wafer 2 is supposed to be divided into a number of minute sections P arranged in rows and columns. These minute sections P are then shifted stepwise one after another successively to the exposure position in the exposure system, where they are exposed one after another successively while held briefly in standstill there. One exposure operation is completed after the opening and closing action of the shutter 4 during the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is lit in Step A, thereby printing a pattern image on one of the minute sections P of the semiconductor wafer 2. The wafer 2 is shifted stepwise while the shutter 4 is closed, so that another minute section P, which is to be exposed next, reaches the exposure position. Exposure is then repeated in the same manner os as to complete the exposure of all minute sections P arranged on the semiconductor wafer.

In the above manner, the mercury-vapor lamp 1 is lit while continuously and repeatedly alternating Step A of the high power consumption level and Step B of the low power consumption level. The opening and closing operation of the shutter 4 and the stepwise shifting position of the semiconductor wafer 2 are controlled in association with Step A and Step B. The time period Ta of each Step A of the high power consumption level may be set constant for example within the range of from 100 msec. to 1000 msec., whereas the time periods Tb of Steps B of the low power consumption level may be the same or different and may range for example from 100 msec. to 1000 msec. In the above manner, the exposure of the semiconductor wafer is effected using, as the mercury-vapor lamp 1, a mercury-vapor lamp in which mercury is filled in such a large amount that the mercury vapor pressure H1 in the envelope when the mercury-vapor lamp is lit in Step B of the low power consumption level does not exceed 96% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure Hs at that time, namely, the mercury vapor pressure H1 is either equal or close to 96% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure. If the amount of filled mercury should exceed the upper limit, the mercury-vapor lamp may fall into an incomplete lighting state in an instate when the lighting state of the mercury-vapor lamp is changed from Step B of the low power consumption level to Step A of the high power consumption level. If such a failure state occurs, the quantity of the radiated light will not immediately increase to a level corresponding to the supplied electric power. This problem seems to occur through the following mechanism. When the operation mode of the mercury-vapor lamp is changed from Step B of the low power consumption level to Step A of the high power consumption level, the temperature of the vapor in the envelope goes up following the increase of the fed electric power. Thus, the vapor pressure of mercury becomes higher. However, the temperature increase of the glass envelope takes place with some time lag. Therefore, the temperature of the envelope may become lower than the saturation point of the mercury vapor and the mercury vapor may thus be condensed tentatively, resulting in incomplete lighting state.

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration showing one example of a short-arc mercury-vapor lamp 1 to be assembled as an exposing light source in an exposure system useful in the practice of one embodiment of this invention. In FIG. 4, numeral 101 indicates an envelope made of silica glass, which is equipped at both end portions thereof with bases 102A, 102B respectively. Designated at numeral 103, 104 are respectively an anode-supporting stem and cathode-supporting stem. An anode 105 is mounted on the tip of the anode-supporting stem 103, whereas a cathode 106 is fixedly attached to the tip of the cathode-supporting stem 104. These anode 105 and cathode 106 are disposed in a face-to-face relation, centrally, in the interior of the envelope 101. As illustrated on the enlarged scale in FIG. 5, the anode 105 is formed of a base portion 51 having a large diametered column-like shape and a truncated conical tip portion of frusto-conical tip portion 53 extending frontwardly and inwardly from the base portion 51 and terminating in a planar tip surface 52. The cathode 106 is formed of a base portion 61 and a cone-like tip portion 62.

An illustrative specification of such a short-arc mercury-vapor lamp 1 is as follow:

______________________________________Specification:______________________________________Rated power consumption                  500 W                  (50 V, 10 A)Anode 105:Outer diameter D1 of the base                  4.0 mmportion 51Diameter D2 of the tip surface 52                  2.0 mmOpening angle α of the tip                  90 degreeportion 53Cathode 106:Outer diameter D3 of the base                  2.0 mmportion 61Interelectrode distance                  3.0 mmPressure in the envelope                  about 13 atms.while the lamp is turned on.______________________________________

Using a semiconductor wafer exposure system equipped with a mercury-vapor lamp of the above structure, in which the mercury vapor pressure upon lit with the rated power consumption was 95% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure at that time, built in as an exposing light source, pattern exposure was conducted on a silicon semiconductor wafer in accordance with the stepwise exposure method while controlling the lighting of the mercury-vapor lamp under the following conditions.

Step A

Time interval Ta: 400 msec.

Power consumption: Maintained constant at 750 W.

Step B

Time interval Tb: 400 msec.

Power consumption: Maintained constant at the rated 500 W.

Under the above conditions, it was possible to achieve the same exposure results as the initial exposure results even after an elapsed time of 600 hours.

Further exposure tests were also carried out under the same conditions as the above test except that the amounts of mercury filled respectively in the envelopes of mercury-vapor lamps were changed to various values shown in Table 1. When mercury was filled too much, it was unable to perform good exposure due to the occurrence of incomplete lighting state.

              TABLE 1______________________________________Percentage of mercury vaporpressure, when lit in a low-level step, to the saturatedmercury vapor pressure atthat time. (%)      Exposure results______________________________________96                  Good over 600 hours94                  Good over 600 hours93                  Good over 600 hours97                  Incomplete lighting               states occur.98                  Incomplete lighting               states occur.99                  Extreme incomplete               lighting states occur.______________________________________

The method of this invention can bring about the following advantageous effects:

(1) The mercury-vapor lamp is lit at a low power consumption level while the light radiated from the mercury-vapor lamp is not used for exposure. It is thus possible to reduce, to a significant extent, the electricity to be wasted by the mercury-vapor lamp and at the same time, to avoid possible damages to the shutter due to its overheating. In a preferred embodiment, the mercury-vapor lamp may be lit at its rated power consumption level in the steps of the low power consumption level and its power consumption is increased in the steps of the high power consumption level. Thus, the degree of exposure can be adjusted as needed or desired. Accordingly, the exposure of semiconductor wafers can be suitably carried out with a small mercury-vapor lamp. As a result, the exposure system does not require too much space for its installation, whereby making it possible to lower the cost required for the maintenance of a clean room or the like in which the exposure system is installed and consequently to lower the fabrication cost of semiconductor devices significantly.

(2) Since the method of this invention employs as a mercury-vapor lamp a mercury-vapor lamp containing mercury in such a large amount that when lit in the step of the low power consumption level, the mercury vapor pressure in the envelope of the mercury-vapor lamp fall within a range not exceeding 96% of the saturated mercury vapor pressure at that time, it is possible to obtain radiated light of a sufficiently high quantity and at that time to avoid the occurrence of incomplete lighting state when switching to the step of the high power consumption level. Therefore, it is feasible to maintain the quantity of light to be radiated from the mercury-vapor lamp in steps of the high power consumption level at the same level as the light quantity at the beginning. As a result, the exposure of semiconductor wafers can be performed by radiated light of a stable quantity over a long period of time while repeatedly alternating the step of the high power consumption level and the step of the low power consumption level.

Having now fully described the invention, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that many changes and modifications can be made thereto without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as set forth herein.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4040736 *Nov 4, 1975Aug 9, 1977Kasper Instruments, Inc.Step-and-repeat projection alignment and exposure system
US4117375 *Dec 15, 1976Sep 26, 1978Optical Associates, IncorporatedExposure system
US4226522 *Nov 17, 1978Oct 7, 1980Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.Imaging device
US4226523 *Nov 17, 1978Oct 7, 1980Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.Imaging device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4704346 *May 30, 1986Nov 3, 1987Ushio Denki Kabushiki KaishaMercury as light-emitting discharge component
US7187129 *Jun 20, 2002Mar 6, 2007Koninklijke Philips Electronics, N.V.High pressure gas discharge lamp and method of manufacturing the same
Classifications
U.S. Classification430/311, 430/394, 313/639, 430/494, 355/53, 355/67
International ClassificationH01L21/027, G03F7/20, H01J61/82, H01J61/20
Cooperative ClassificationH01J61/822, G03F7/70016
European ClassificationG03F7/70B2, H01J61/82A
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 8, 1998FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Dec 17, 1993FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Feb 13, 1990FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Mar 8, 1985ASAssignment
Owner name: USHIO DENKI KABUSHIKI KAISHA, TOKYO, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:KIRA, TAKEHIRO;REEL/FRAME:004376/0396
Effective date: 19850122